Last June, as I was preparing for my girlfriend reunion at Disneyland, Patrick approached me with concern in his voice.
"What if you get lost?" he queried, with a bit of apprehension behind his eyes.
We were in Indio, out in the desert past Palm Springs, and he was anxious about the prospect of me driving the long trek from there to Anaheim and back, by myself, after a long, exhausting day of amusement park fun.
"I will be fine," I assured him. "I'll memorize the freeways and I've been there so many times, I know the streets by sight."
"I just don't want anything to happen to you... I wish you had a GPS," he persisted.
"You are really worried about me, aren't you? That's so sweet honey!" I replied, thinking how cute it was that he was being so protective of me.
Patrick was basing his worry on 20 years of knowing me and my non-existent sense of direction.
He had a point, yet I was sure I had improved over the last few years. Yes, I did end up at LAX once on the way to a bridal shower in Whittier. There are certain towns like Cambria and Santa Barbara that completely turn me around, but I think that has something to do with city planning. And there was the occasion that I thought my car had been stolen at a San Jose mall, because I exited at the wrong door. But generally speaking, I have been doing better, and I was convinced I would be just fine.
So I made sure my phone was charged and memorized my route. The 10 to the 60 to the 91 to the 57. I wrote it down and I repeated it in my head several times for good measure.
"Don't worry, I know where I'm going," I told Patrick as I kissed him goodbye. My stomach was a little queasy as I began to doubt if I could really make it without having a slip up somewhere in Riverside County. No, I had prayed and asked God for His direction and protection, and everything was going to be just fine.
The trip out was one beautiful, seamless transition after another, and before I knew it, I was ready to find parking in Pumba and Timon or some other character's domain. Nothing to worry about. Maybe I had grown out of my directionally challenged state.
Then came the return trip. I was careful to prepare for the journey, topping off my gas tank at a station which shared a parking lot with a coffee shop, then being patronized by the occupants of 2 police squad cars. Feeling pretty safe and secure with my caffeine infused mocha in hand and a whole playlist of Switchfoot tunes on my iPod, I was ready to conquer the reverse leg. Piece of cake.
It all went quite smoothly, even the dark winding roads of the 60. About 20 minutes from Indio, I called Patrick, telling him I was almost in the vicinity and he had worried over nothing.
Famous last words...
To be continued.